Wednesday 22 July – Holland

We got up early to make sure that we wouldn’t miss the ferry to Holland at 9.30am. There are only two sailings from Emden to Deifzijl per day, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.

The ferry is a fairly small boat and we were surprised how many people and bicycles they packed onto it. You have to take all the panniers off your bicycle to get it on board across a narrow gang plank. The captain wanted to know why we had so much baggage on our bikes so we told him we are travelling for three months and have already visited 8 countries. Holland will be our ninth.

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There were a number of very large ships in the dock leaving Emden (one off-loading cars).

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The ferry doesn’t go very fast and never out of sight of the coastline. It takes an hour to get to Deifzijl and you cross the border into Holland somewhere along the way.

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I have never seen so many wind turbines – they are all lined up along the coast, some big and others quite modest. The water on the whole crossing is dark green/ brown looking, with not many waves.

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It was exciting being in a new country – Holland is beautiful!

I was totally enchanted by the houses along the canals in Deifzijl and the little towns around it and kept on stopping to take photos. Lots of them have little jettys alongside where people can sit and eat or relax and sometimes there are boats docked alongside the houses.

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We took a fairly direct route to Groningen, alongside the Eemskanaal for most of the way. On getting closer to the city we had another long windy stretch alongside a road. The Dutch cycle path next to the road was brilliant, it even has a centre line to separate bicycles going in different directions.

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We rode alongside the canal again on entering the city and saw a large barge go through a lock.

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On entering Groningen it was interesting to be sharing the road with so many other bicycles, all using the excellent cycle paths throughout the city. You really have to watch where you are going as there are so many other bikes and some of them travel very fast. There are also bicycles parked everywhere.

Groningen has canals running through it and some house boats that seem to be permanent dwellings.

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There is a big market place in the centre and we stopped for some fresh fried fish – there were lots of people buying and it was very delicious.

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Our hostel is called Bud Gett and is very basic but close to the centre. Our ride was very short at 38km, so we had some time in the afternoon to book accommodation for the next few days through the internet and also look around town. We have changed tactics with booking accommodation, as the tourist info offices have not had much to offer over the past few days.

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